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Signaling network of dendritic cells in response to pathogens: a community-input supported knowledgebase

Sonali Patil1, Hanna Pincas1, Jeremy Seto1, German Nudelman1, Irina Nudelman2 and Stuart C Sealfon1*

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Translational Systems Biology and Department of Neurology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA

2 Computational Biology Program, Courant Institute, New York University, New York, NY 10012, USA

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BMC Systems Biology 2010, 4:137  doi:10.1186/1752-0509-4-137

Published: 7 October 2010

Abstract

Background

Dendritic cells are antigen-presenting cells that play an essential role in linking the innate and adaptive immune systems. Much research has focused on the signaling pathways triggered upon infection of dendritic cells by various pathogens. The high level of activity in the field makes it desirable to have a pathway-based resource to access the information in the literature. Current pathway diagrams lack either comprehensiveness, or an open-access editorial interface. Hence, there is a need for a dependable, expertly curated knowledgebase that integrates this information into a map of signaling networks.

Description

We have built a detailed diagram of the dendritic cell signaling network, with the goal of providing researchers with a valuable resource and a facile method for community input. Network construction has relied on comprehensive review of the literature and regular updates. The diagram includes detailed depictions of pathways activated downstream of different pathogen recognition receptors such as Toll-like receptors, retinoic acid-inducible gene-I-like receptors, C-type lectin receptors and nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptors. Initially assembled using CellDesigner software, it provides an annotated graphical representation of interactions stored in Systems Biology Mark-up Language. The network, which comprises 249 nodes and 213 edges, has been web-published through the Biological Pathway Publisher software suite. Nodes are annotated with PubMed references and gene-related information, and linked to a public wiki, providing a discussion forum for updates and corrections. To gain more insight into regulatory patterns of dendritic cell signaling, we analyzed the network using graph-theory methods: bifan, feedforward and multi-input convergence motifs were enriched. This emphasis on activating control mechanisms is consonant with a network that subserves persistent and coordinated responses to pathogen detection.

Conclusions

This map represents a navigable aid for presenting a consensus view of the current knowledge on dendritic cell signaling that can be continuously improved through contributions of research community experts. Because the map is available in a machine readable format, it can be edited and may assist researchers in data analysis. Furthermore, the availability of a comprehensive knowledgebase might help further research in this area such as vaccine development. The dendritic cell signaling knowledgebase is accessible at http://tsb.mssm.edu/pathwayPublisher/DC_pathway/DC_pathway_index.html webcite.